As a child and teenager, I’d fished with my dad for about two weeks each summer while we rented a cottage near Zink’s Point on Elk Lake. I liked that, quite a bit, and never more than when others were catching fish and I was just getting bites and not hooking them. My dad babied me and baited my hook for most of those years. I didn’t like touching the fish, so he even took the fish off the hook for me. I was enough of a young feminist then to know that these were things I should do for myself. But somehow my natural squeamishness prevailed and I mostly took myself off the hook and allowed him to take care of such tasks. Eventually, I baited my own hook–with nightcrawlers or minnows. Never with disgusting things like maggots or inchworms or whatever those awful things were that looked like tiny eyeballs he kept in some kind of oily solution in a small plastic jar. But taking fish off hooks: I just couldn’t make myself do it. Eventually, if the fish was a small one and I’d hooked it nicely through the lip, I could manage. Otherwise, it was dad.
So, 20 years hiatus (because we fished a bit, into my early 30’s). In the meantime came the invention of all sort of plastic creepy crawler bait. A great improvement over finding that I’d hooked my nightcrawler all weird so that its insides were sort of oozing out. But, there is still the getting the fish off the hook part.
Imagine my amazement when the first fish of the new era turned out to be this nice-sized small mouth bass The plan was catch and release. Ah yes, release. Honestly, I just wanted to cut the line. We use the hooks that dissolve, eventually, and I’d unfortunately not set the hook right. It had swallowed the hook (and my rubber worm) half way to his tail. All of a sudden I was ten again. “Steve, would you get him off?” Steve had only fished a few times in his life and he never caught a fish before. He tried, though. And eventually succeeded. We apologized to Bluto profusely. He swam off, hopefully no worse for wear. I’m ready for the next one, with my fish gloves with rubbery palms. I wonder if that will give me what it takes to overcome my childish squeamishness.
I remember my grandmother’s song. “Lazy Bones, sleepin’ in the sun. How do you expect to get your day’s work done, just sleepin’ in the sun? I bet when you go fishin’ you keep on a-wishin’ the fish don’t bite at your line…” Maybe Bones wasn’t lazy, just squeamish like me.
Since I’ve already written about Lucy Neatby in my last post, I’ll just talk about her sock finesse. The checkered socks–well, cute and fun to make. The ruffled cuff is such a nice touch. But the biking socks. Oh my. The overall pattern is designed to resemble the links on a bike chain. At each of the four ankle positions, is the bike dude guy sitting on his bike. In the background behind him, mountains are knitted in. You can’t see it well in this photo, but the top of the foot is decorated too. One sock has a stylized eagle knitted in. The other has a moose. At my current hourly rate as an attorney, this pair of bike socks would sell for about $45,000. And I’m not a slow knitter or a really pricey attorney. I was so proud of myself for completing these.
Lucy Neatby is one of my favorite knitting designers. I tend to the small projects, so her sock patterns have been a favorite over the years. They can be challenging, but Lucy does a wonderful job of simplifying instructions for what at first looks very complex. Best of all–her patterns have no mistakes in them! I’ve taken one intarsia class from her through my knitting guild several years ago. Intarsia is not a favorite technique for me, but Lucy is a great teacher. Plus it is way cool that a knitting teacher bucks the stereotypes so completely. Lucy used to do a lot of knitting when she was in the merchant marine. She taught our class wearing one green shoe and one hot pink one (yes, she had another almost identical pair–the mates–at home). According to her website photo, her hair is currently bright pink with purple highlights. Some day I hope to join one of her knitting adventure retreats. I’m thinking one of her Nova Scotia trips would be excellent. Never been to Nova Scotia.
As you can tell from the snow on the Hillman airport, this is not yesterday’s (Father’s Day) eagle photo. Yesterday no camera captured the drama on the west shore of the big part of Long Lake, not far from the narrows. We watched from our dock on the eastern shore. “Look, that’s a bald eagle flying over the lake, isn’t it?” “Definitely, see his tail feathers?” ” Yep, and that’s definitely a white head.” As my son and our friends watched, the eagle swooped down and grabbed something from the lake. It flew off with a Canada Goose gosling in its talons. The geese started honking loud. One adult flew up and charged the eagle. Startled, apparently, the eagle dropped its prey back into the lake from a height of about 100 feet. We saw the splash. The eagle circled and seemed to be considering trying again. Continued loud honking. The eagle did not make a second snatch. The geese paddled off.
Our national bird didn’t get picked for the job as a symbol for tame. A healthy eagle killing to eat is not a newsflash. Still, this was pretty raw and Wild Kingdomish. We’d seen that bunch of geese a few times over the weekend. Four adults, five goslings already with the distinctive breed markings on their neck, and four younger goslings still decked out in their brown chick feathers. Even though the geese litter the lawn with their slimy tootsie roll droppings, I was still kind of rooting for the geese. Hard not to root for a parent fighting to protect its young. Especially on Father’s Day. The eagle seemed small for an adult.
My last post complained about people’s golfballs ending up in Long Lake. This Saturday, a pontoon boot was moving slowly through our small bay, close to shore. At first, I didn’t understand what its occupants were up to. One fellow was draped over the bow of the boat and seemed to be scooping something up in a fish net. I though maybe he’d dropped something from the boat and was retrieving it. The boat moved forward a bit more, with the man on the bow directing the younger man who was piloting the boat. Then it became clear, they were picking up trash from the lake bottom. Before they left my part of the lake they had picked up cans and three golf balls! We all owe this pair a debt of gratitude and the careless owe them and our lake an apology. They introduced themselves to me. I was astounded to see them back on Sunday afternoon, in snorkel gear, looking for trash that has settled on the lake bottom. Others of us were doing the stuff that everybody likes to do on a sunny, 80 degree day on Long Lake. And Hank and his son Nick were cleaning up the lake. Sincerely, thank you. So, no pop or beer cans in the water. Not ever. No empty bait containers. No candy wrappers or potato chip bags. However these things are ending up in the lake, we all have to do the Hank & Nick thing and make sure we retrieve them.